Resources on the Eucharist
The Eucharist and
St. Hilary of Poitiers
Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church
The Eucharist and the Incarnation -- St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers (now in France) during the middle of the 4th Century, makes clear that Jesus' words in the famous bread of life discourse of John 6 were given a very realistic interpretation in the patristic era immediately following the new testament period -- in the sacrament of the Eucharist (Mass or holy communion) we truly eat his flesh and drink his blood. Repeating what other Early Church Fathers, such as Saint Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr, teach, the real presence of Christ's body and blood in the liturgy is integrally connected with the mystery of the incarnation -- the divine Word truly becoming flesh and taking a human nature in the womb of Mary. The traditional sacramental doctrine of the Church was seen as fully biblical, based on the gospels and other New Testament scriptures. This reading, used in the Roman Catholic office of readings for Wednesday of the 4th week of Easter, is taken from St. Hilary's treatise on the Trinity by (Lib 8, 13-16; PL 10, 246-249) with the scriptural reading taken from Revelation 14:14 - 15:4.
We believe that the Word became flesh and that we receive his flesh in the Lordís Supper. How then can we fail to believe that he really dwells within us? When he became man, he actually clothed himself in our flesh, uniting it to himself for ever. In the sacrament of his body he actually gives us his own flesh, which he has united to his divinity. This is why we are all one, because the Father is in Christ, and Christ is in us. He is in us through his flesh and we are in him. With him we form a unity which is in God.
The manner of our indwelling in him through the sacrament of his body and blood is evident from the Lordís own words: This world will see me no longer but you shall see me. Because I live you shall live also, for I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. If it had been a question of a mere unity of will, why should he have given us this explanation of the steps by which it is achieved? He is in the Father by reason of his divine nature, we are in h im by reason of his human birth, and he is in us through the mystery of the sacraments. This, surely, is what he wished us to believe; this is how he wanted us to understand the perfect unity that is achieved through our Mediator, who lives in the Father while we live in him, and who, while living in the Father, lives also in us. This is how we attain to unity with the Father. Christ is in very truth in the Father by his eternal generation; we are in very truth in Christ, and he likewise is in us.
Christ himself bore witness to the reality of this unity when he said: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him. No one will be in Christ unless Christ himself has been in him; Christ will take to himself only the flesh of those who have received his flesh. He had already explained the mystery of this perfect unity when he said: As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so he who eats my flesh will draw life from me. We draw life from his flesh just as he draws life from the Father. Such comparisons aid our understanding, since we can grasp a point more easily when we have an analogy. And the point is that Christ is the wellspring of our life. Since we who are in the flesh have Christ dwelling in us through his flesh, we shall draw life from him in te same way as he draws life from the Father.
Be sure to check out -
Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the Early Church--St. Cyril of Jerusalem
This is My Body -- St. Ambrose on Eucharistic Consecration
This article appears in the Early Church Fathers, Incarnation - God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ, Liturgy and Sacraments and the Eucharist sections.
Click here to download, print and Share The Eucharist and the Incarnation!
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
Feast of Faith - The Transforming Power of the Eucharist
Pope John Paul II has decreed a special "year of the Eucharist" beginning this month. Make the most of this opportunity with "The Feast of Faith," an enlightening, four-part adult faith formation series (on 2 CDs or 2 DVDs) guaranteed to unlock the life-changing power of the Eucharist in your life. Be sure to order the Feast of Faith Workbook, you may view it online, to get the most out of this amazing Eucharist Series!
Feast of Faith DVD - $49.95
Feast of Faith Ė CD - $19.95
Feast of Faith Workbook - $6.95
Don't forget to purchase the study guide specifically designed to facilitate this process for individuals, study groups, and religious education classes. It is chocked full of quotes from Scripture, Church teaching, and great saints on the meaning and power of the Eucharist.
Exploring the Catholic Church
Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching and Practice by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio is an accessible, affordable Roman Catholic Book--perfect gift for anyone!! -- the inactive Catholic, the Sunday Catholic wanting to know more, Protestants who want to know why Catholics do what they do. This makes the perfect gift for anyone in RCIA!!
God's Seven Gifts: The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church - 6 CD Set
The Catholic Church has always emphasized how important the seven sacraments are for our lives. Yet many take these 7 sacraments for granted. With little understanding of the sacraments, many are simply going through the motions. This CD set will give you new insight into the meaning of these seven unique embraces of divine love that will unlock the power of the sacraments in your life!
Getting More Out of the Mass-
Is Christ really present in the Mass? This dynamic and entertaining talk explains what is meant by the real presence of Christ in the eucharist and how to unlock the transforming power of the Mass in your life.